I actually wrote this piece several years ago. Today my son turns 20. Twenty. No longer a baby, no longer a boy scout, a dancer, or a teenager. He is really and truly a man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
So take heart, my mama friends who struggle with kids who learn differently, kids who stretch you, who baffle you, who make you doubt your ability to do this momming gig. Our Father’s got them. And in His time, they will turn out to be far more than you dare to imagine…
Better Than I Imagined
My finger was bleeding. As I watched the crimson bead form on my fingertip I wished, not for the first time, that I was more skilled with a sewing needle. I reflexively put the injured digit in my mouth and looked down at the size 10 men’s ballet slipper resting in my lap. I had to get the elastics on before my son’s next lesson. Resuming my work, I smiled as I thought of all that had led to this rather surreal moment. My son, the ballerina?
My last nerve was exposed and raw, just waiting for a spark that would ignite it like the fuse on a stick of dynamite. When my daughter entered the room in tears, the match was lit.
We’ve been in the middle of rehearsals for a theatrical production and the choreography wasn’t turning out as she’d hoped. The grand visions in her head simply weren’t panning out in the sphere of reality and as a result, she felt stuck and unable to continue.
This sweet, smart, sensitive daughter of mine is my polar opposite in many ways. Most notably, she is emotionally expressive, while I am not. My daughter and I have a major disconnect in this area, and as I said, on this particular day I was already operating with the last nerve ready to be tweaked.
Glancing at the woman to my left, I smiled. Her arms were full of warm, rumpled toddlers, two little girls who were obviously exhausted from a long day at the Magic Kingdom. The tiny princess closest to me clutched her glowing star-wand and shifted to get comfortable. The bus gently swayed, rocking the girls into a fitful rest on the journey to our resort.
“Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defense.”
– Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story
I can really relate to Randy. It had been my intention to take a couple of weeks off of homeschooling and writing after Christmas to relax and get some work done. Entertaining visions of sitting in my cozy room, fingers furiously clicking on my keyboard keeping time with the rhythm of the rain lightly hitting my windows, I was sure I would not only get ahead on my blogging, but I’d be fully organized and ready to roll for a new term of schooling.
“Have you ever thought about trying some positive motivation?”
My friend’s words were spoken gently, with a hint of hesitation. Even so, I bristled. Spouting off some lame excuse, I ended the conversation, hung up the phone, and nursed my stinging pride. Positive motivation? What did she think I was, some screeching harridan, oppressing my children with my negative parenting? Harrumph!
Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my daughter’s wedding day. I’ve long wanted to write about one central part of our preparations, but the words simply haven’t coalesced. Spiritually speaking, this past year has been hard. I have encountered steep, seemingly impassable terrain on my journey to the high places. Yet my Shepherd has been faithful to lead me through it, and as I look back on my daughter’s lovely, lovely day, I now see the gem, the standing stone, my Father left for me.
Aiming carefully at my subject, I shot blind. Lifting the camera, I squinted at the LCD screen but could still see nothing; the brightness of the mid afternoon sun rendered it worthless. I tried again, choosing my angle with care, holding perfectly still. When the breeze died down enough for the vibrant, violet bloom to still, I pressed the shutter once more. Shrugging, I walked on, waiting for the next flower or critter or bit of beauty to catch my novice eye.